Fill the picnic basket and bring the cooler, too.
One way to liven things up for the alfresco festivities is with a sparkling wine.
Be Bolognese with a fizzy, fruity, dry lambrusco. The effervescent red is satisfying company with cured meats, especially prosciutto and mortadella, and mild cheeses, lighter pastas and fried chicken.
Cleto Chiarli makes very good lambrusco. Look for the nonvintage, easygoing Centenario Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro Amabile ($11) and the 2013 Premium Vecchia Modena Lambrusco di Sorbara ($15); or the fuller 2012 Vigneto Enrico Cialdini Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro ($15).
Stay Italian with a food-friendly prosecco, such as the appley, softly bubbly Bellenda Prosecco Brut ($19) and the Carpene Malvolti Prosecco Brut ($19); or the pear-peach-driven, light Mionetto Prosecco Superiore Valdobbiadene ($19). They're ideal with sushi, hacked chicken, sesame noodles or barbecue.
Crémant d'Alsace bubbles with Gallic flair. These sparkling wines have an affinity with fish and shellfish, from smoked trout to seafood salads and the raw bar. Nonvintage Ruhlmann Crémant d'Alsace Brut ($21) arrives floral and peachy, with an extra-fine sparkle.
Rosé crémants are excellent with chilled seafood and with white meats, either hot or cold. Try the subtle, vibrant, nonvintage Gustave Lorentz Crémant d'Alsace Rosé ($25); or the creamy, berry-full, nonvintage Lucien Albrecht Crémant d'Alsace Brut Rosé ($20). And the fresh, dependable, nonvintage Willm Crémant d'Alsace Blanc de Noirs ($16) offers a hint of apple. Sample it with grilled shellfish, chicken or pork.
No corkscrew required.